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Driver charged with killing Trooper Gadd admits to smoking marijuana and drinking prior to the crash-held on 1 million dollars bail

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Driver charged with killing WSP Trooper Gadd admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana before the I-5 crash.  

The suspect accused of crashing into and killing Washington State Trooper Christopher Gadd on I-5 near Marysville March 2, 2024, has been charged in connection with the incident.

Raul Benitez Santana, 32, is currently behind bars in Snohomish County on $1 million bail. Prosecutors announced that he was charged with two counts of vehicular assault (reckless manner or while under the influence) in connection to Gadd's death.

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) said Gadd, 27, started with the WSP on Sept. 16, 2021. He became the 33rd WSP member to die in the line of duty in the agency's 103 years of service, according to the WSP. Gadd was on patrol Saturday, parked in the grass on the right-side shoulder of the freeway when the crash happened, according to probable cause documents. A witness driving a semi-truck said Gadd's vehicle was "fully marked" with the lights off, the document said, when a speeding black SUV "swerved and struck the rear end" of the patrol vehicle. 

A Drug Recognition Expert who spoke with the suspect at the hospital said he saw "multiple physiological signs consistent with recent Marijuana usage." The suspect's blood was drawn at the hospital, and a voluntary Preliminary Breath Test taken about 3.5 hours after the collision came back with a .047 reading. The suspect also admitted to deputies that he had consumed 2 beers after initially saying he had only one.

For those looking to donate to Gadd's family, the WSP Memorial Foundation provided the following instructions:
  • Using Venmo, donations can be sent to @WSP-MemorialFoundation. Please note “Trooper Gadd” in the note section. (If last 4 is requested, use 4411)
  • Go into any Chase Bank Branch and make a check deposit into the “Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation” account. “Trooper Gadd” should be noted on the check note line.
  • Using your own bank, you can log in online or through your mobile app and make a donation using Zelle. Donations can be sent to our WSPMF number, 360-597-4411, or email, wspmemorialfoundation@gmail.com. Please note “Trooper Gadd”. All donations received will be held for the family. There are no fees with using Zelle.
  • You can mail a check made out to WSPMF with “Trooper Gadd” on the note line to:
  • WSP Memorial Foundation
  • PO Box 901
  • Prosser, WA 99350

Anyone wishing to send cards to the family are asked to address them to the WSP Marysville Office: 2700 116th St. NE, Marysville, WA 98271.

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